Friday, June 22, 2007

Cicero on Political Flip-Flopping

Some AP-related poking around in Cicero has intersected with overblown political rhetoric about “primary conversions” (candidates whose views seem to change as soon as they enter the season of primary elections) and “flip-floppers.” While one hopes that a change of heart and mind is not cynically intended to garner more votes, I see nothing wrong with politicians changing their minds. In fact, I think it’s a very good thing for a politician to be able to be swayed by good argument or new evidence. Apparently, I’m not alone.
...numquam enim in praestantibus in re publica gubernanda viris laudata est in una sententia perpetua permansio....

...for persistence in a single permanent opinion among men [sic] active in the governance of the republic has never been praised....

ad Familiares 1.9.21
nemo doctus umquam ... mutationem consili inconstantiam dixit esse.

No educated person has ever said that a change of mind was inconsistency.

ad Atticum 16.7.3

Of course, Cicero ended up with his head and hands mounted on the Rostra, so caveat lector.

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